In 2019, the best gaming laptops are a genuine alternative to traditional desktops. While never quite as powerful, or offering the same build/upgrade flexibility, a decent laptop can smash the majority of modern PC games at 1080p, whether you’re in a different room at home, taking a cheeky gaming break at work, or hogging the Wifi in the local Starbucks. This year has seen the start of 20-series graphics cards being crammed into gaming laptops, along with more RAM and better screens, with the result being both genuine portable power and a dip in the price of machines with older, GTX-era innards. Both are good news for us.
1. Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model – 15.6-inch
Not much has changed since the advent of the original Razer Blade 15 in spring 2018. The refreshed, so-called “Advanced Model” is outfitted with the same CNC-milled aluminum chassis as its predecessor, only this time it harbors the latest graphics chips from Nvidia, namely the RTX family of Turing architecture-based GPUs.
Among its configurations are an RTX 2080 model, capable of running the ray traced Metro Exodus at over 50fps with all the visual settings cranked to the top. In our testing, despite its power-hungry guts, it wowed us with an unusual 5 hour and 1 minute battery life. So while it’s no longer the thinnest or the lightest in its class, it is the longest lasting premium gaming laptops we’ve seen to date. It’s also one of the more expensive.
2. MSI GS65 Stealth Thin – 15.6-inch
The GS65 Stealth Thin is the best gaming laptop we tested in 2018. It’s a fantastic all-rounder that still packs a punch in terms of specs and design. It has the versatility of a notebook and, because it’s light and sturdy, it’s incredibly easy to just pop into your bag and carry round all day for whatever you need to use it for. It has a sleek matte black aluminum body with gold accents that feels sturdy and luxe—and thankfully lacking in obnoxious gamer aesthetics. Best of all, in addition to a slim, 18mm thickness, the screen’s 4.9mm thin bezels allow for a overall chassis size that’s about an inch smaller than most 15-inch laptops, while still packing the same screen real-estate.
3. Acer Predator Helios 300 – 15.6-inch
Acer’s Predator Helios 300 offers an incredible value proposition. At just over a grand, sometimes less if you can find it on sale, it offers a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card that can lock down 60 fps at near-max settings in most games from the last few years. The system’s lacking in any fancy screen features like G-Sync, although you can get a model with 144Hz refresh rate, and you’ll probably want to think about investing in a large HDD to back up the 256GB SSD. But those minor issues don’t mean much when you factor in the super-affordable price tag.
4. Lenovo Legion Y740 – 17.3-inch
Though they’ve existed for but a couple of years now, Lenovo’s Legion-branded laptops have made a name for themselves in the games industry, if only because they offer unprecedented value on top-notch specs.
Rather than crafting jacks of all trades, the Chinese tech company—known primarily for its ThinkPads—aims to squeeze the most performance out of the cheapest possible materials without compromising on quality and design. This principle is nowhere more evident than in the Lenovo Legion Y740, a 17.3-inch gaming laptop, whose graphics chip ranges from Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 to 2080, and for a fraction of the price of its major competitors.